Background and Rationale

In 2006, Boston University adopted preliminary processes for conducting assessments of academic programs in Schools and Colleges, led both by the University Provost and Board of Overseers.  Academic units were identified to undergo review based on the opportunity to engage in critical self-reflection in preparation for transitions in leadership, as well as to capitalize on the perspectives and unique skills of Overseers to enhance the efficacy of academic initiatives in the Schools and Colleges.

Deans have also periodically and systematically engaged external perspectives as appropriate and available in their areas through consultation with members of formal external advisory boards, professional bodies including accreditation agencies, and other relevant constituencies.

As the University moves from strategic planning to implementation in aligning individual School and College initiatives with the University’s strategic plan, development of a formal, systematic and long-term process of external reviews is essential to gauging our progress toward our goals. Such a process, commonly employed at major research universities, has proven fundamental to fostering communication at all levels, to better understanding the complexity and diversity of the University, and to informing planning processes with an important base of knowledge of where academic programs stand relative to their goals and the overall goals of the University.